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Alert, Not Fearful 11-20-17

By November 20, 2017April 24th, 2019No Comments

The devil loves the denial of his existence. However, denying his existence does not make it so. Peter warns us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The picture we get here comes right out of a National Geographic episode. You can imagine some zebra drinking from a watering hole. They drink a bit but stop from time-to-time to see if a lion or any other predator is on the prowl. Suddenly an explosion of movement comes from some nearby bushes. The dazzle of zebra, which was on alert, spring into action and escapes being on the lion’s menu for lunch. This picture is not one dominated by fear, but a “sober-minded” understanding that an enemy exists that seeks to destroy them. Their watchfulness saved their lives.

Surveys inform us that the vast majority of people in our society, even many in the church, refuse to believe that the devil exists and that he plans to destroy them. Can you imagine a better situation for a predator than to have its prey deny his existence and his mission? The enemy has believers in his sights, and we ignore him at our peril.

Again, we don’t need to fear. John encourages us with these words: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4b). But, we do need to be alert. We need to be prepared for our battle with the enemy. Our victory is secure. As Paul writes, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom 16:20). But we must be clothed for battle. Paul instructs us, “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph 6:13). God provides us with His armor to protect, do battle, and by His strength win against the enemy.

The enemy wants to chisel away at your confidence. He wants to cause you to stumble and fall. He wants to screw-up your relationships and make you feel alone. He wants to deceive you into believing you are powerless. He wants to destroy your witness and even your desire to see others find the hope you have in Christ. Therefore, we need to be alert. This puritan prayer is appropriate for us to lift up to the Lord.

“O Lord, I bless thee that the issue of the battle between thyself and Satan has never been uncertain, and will end in victory. Calvary broke the dragon’s head, and I contend with a vanquished foe, who with all his subtlety and strength has already been overcome. When I feel the serpent at my heel may I remember him whose heel was bruised, but who, when bruised, broke the devil’s head. My soul with inward joy extols the mighty conqueror. Heal me of any wounds received in the great conflict; if I have gathered defilement, if my faith has suffered damage, if my hope is less than bright, if my love is not fervent, if some creature-comfort occupies my heart, if my soul sinks under pressure of the fight. O thou whose every promise is balm, every touch life, draw near to thy warrior, refresh me, that I may rise again to wage the strife, and never tire until my enemy is trodden down. Give me such fellowship with thee that I may defy Satan, unbelief, the flesh, the world, with delight that comes not from a creature, and which a creature cannot mar. Give me a draught of the eternal fountain that lieth in thy immutable, everlasting love and decree. Then shall my hand never weaken, my feet never stumble, my sword never rest, my shield never rust, my helmet never shatter, my breastplate never fall, as my strength rests in the power of thy might. Amen!”

The devil exists. God has struck him with a fatal blow, through Christ’s finished work on the cross. However, this side of paradise he still seeks to devour us. Stay alert and claim the victory.

It is an honor to do life with each of you. Let’s be watchful. With encouragement and prayer for one another trust God for the victory every day and in all circumstances.

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